Do's and Don'ts of Online Wedding Planning

Lorraine Gomez looked forward to the day she would marry her longtime love, Armando Craig.

There was one big problem -- the gowns for her bridesmaids.

To stay within her budget, Gomez tried to plan her dream wedding via the Internet. The dresses she ordered online, though, took five months to arrive, finally reaching Gomez just two weeks before the wedding.

"They're so late that I don't know if we'll have time to even get the dresses altered or anything like that," Gomez said when the gowns finally reached her.

"Good Morning America" and Bride's magazine joined forces to make sure Gomez got her dream wedding, providing her with a personal tailor to alter the bridesmaid dresses.

The average American wedding takes more than seven months to plan and costs between $20,000 and $25,000, prompting many couples to look on the Internet for ways to save time and money. Bride's Editor in Chief Millie Martini Bratten said Gomez's predicament illustrated when you should not rely on online shopping.

"We live in a very technology-driven society, but there are times when you have to step away from the keyboard and do things face-to-face," Bratten said. "The Internet is great for research. You can search endlessly for vendors, for location and for ideas."

She recommends using the Web to manage your registry, share wedding details, and buy small items like unique favors.

"Don't book your vendors online," Bratten said. "You need to get a good feeling about them. You have to look them in the eye."

Shopping online can be unpredictable, so Bratten recommends reading the fine print and leaving plenty of time for exchanges.

Special thanks to Wyndam Sugar Bay Resorts & Spa in St. Thomas, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Spirit Airlines for their help with this story.